PerspectiveEarth Science

Bridgmanite—named at last

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Science  28 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6213, pp. 1057-1058
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261887

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Summary

The most abundant solid phase in Earth's interior, making up 38% of Earth's volume, is magnesium iron silicate (Mg,Fe)SiO3. This material is known to form a perovskite structure. However, no samples of the mineral can be obtained from Earth's lower mantle; without a well-characterized natural sample, it has not been possible to formally name the mineral. On page 1100 of this issue, Tschauner et al. (1) use synchrotron micro-x-ray diffraction and electron probe microanalysis to determine the crystal structure and composition of natural (Mg,Fe)SiO3-perovskite in a shocked L chondrite (a stony, low-iron meteorite). They name it bridgmanite, after the father of high-pressure experiments, Percy W. Bridgman (1882 to 1961).